Talkback Thread #16: The Return of Godzilla

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Talkback Thread #16: The Return of Godzilla

Postby Arrow » Sat Aug 21, 2010 6:08 am

The Return of Godzilla aka Godzilla 1985

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The Return of Godzilla delivers in some areas and not in others. On the positive side, the music is excellent and really sets up the grim tone. RoG's soundtracks are amongst my favorite of the Godzilla movies. And the decision to bring back the idea of a threatening Godzilla (in the eyes of some fans, "taking him back to his roots") was a fresh one at the time. The Cold War theme was great and I liked that they tried to make Godzilla relevant to modern times, much like Godzilla (1954). The Super-X and the Volcano scenes were pretty well-done.

Unfortunately, that's about as much as I can offer the movie. Because while it does have its strong points, there are a lot of negatives that bring the movie down. The biggest is the human cast. For a film that tries to be a direct callback to the original movie, The Return of Godzilla lacks any notable characterization. Instead we have wooden human characters that are acted mediocrely. And that really makes the movie bland and we're stuck wishing for Godzilla to show up already.

And when he does show up, the destruction scenes are nothing like the first movie. In the first movie, Godzilla drove home his role as war personified by attacking buildings, soldiers, and innocents. He was truly horrifying and the destruction was spectacular. I forgot I was watching a movie! He turns Tokyo into a sea of fire. It's damn amazing. We didn't get that in RoG. Instead we got a Godzilla that wanders lazily around, accidentally destroying buildings. It lacks the energy of the first movie. I suspect the biggest reason for this would be because they were trying to play up the sympathetic angle for Godzilla, something that was a nonentity in the original film. It tries to be King Kong (1976) and Godzilla (1954) at the same time, resulting in a non-threatening Godzilla and uninspired action sequences. The only time a felt a true sense of menace from Godzilla was during his battle with the Super-X.

The special effects are a hit-and-miss. The new miniature sets look impressive. Unfortunately, Godzilla himself does not. I'm no fan of that design, especially the head. The Super-X and military attack sequences are wonderful, probably the biggest special effects highlight of the film. But on the other hand, we get scenes like the bug attack in the beginning. The effects are inconsistent.

All in all, the movie screams 'hit-and-miss'. Some things are good, others are not.

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Re: Talkback Thread #16: The Return of Godzilla

Postby DaikaijuSokogeki! » Sat Aug 21, 2010 7:12 am

I will agree that the score is fantastic, and I really wish Reijiro Koroku provided more scores for the series. It never lazily tacked on stock Ifukube tracks, and it sold the darker atmosphere of the film beautifully. The special effects have a lot going for them as well, with Nakano providing some extremely effective work when miniatures are destroyed. The use of different suits or animatronics that don't match in terms of looks is distracting, but the one used for close-up shots and the poster turns out the best of the three different designs. It was nice to see Godzilla take on the Cold War era, and the writing sold the theme successfully. Finally, I loved the sense of scope this film delivered. I personally got the impression a giant monster was tearing a metropolis apart with nothing able to stop it. It may not have been as well done as the original, but I still found it effective.

However, the characters are forgettable and aside from a few performances, the acting is dreadful. The Japanese version's pacing is a little slow, but it's not too bad compared to later Heisei and Millennium entries. As previously mentioned, two of the designs don't turn out too well. The Cybot Godzilla looks odd, and the main suit seems half-asleep.

Still, I can't help but take it easy on this film. This was my first Godzilla movie and it literally changed my life, so it has a lot of nostalgia for me. I haven't seen the US version in years but after watching the superior Japanese version, I find it hard to bring myself to do it. It's a solid start to the Heisei series, and proved that Godzilla could still be taken seriously.

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Re: Talkback Thread #16: The Return of Godzilla

Postby HedorahLives » Sat Aug 21, 2010 9:56 am

I agree that this is a mixed bag, but probably for different reasons.

The main good thing is that this is a magnificient reboot of Godzilla's character. I like the cheesy 70s films too, but the franchise had hit the fan. A different direction was needed. IMO, Toho handled it the best way they could. Restoring the beast to his less cuddly roots (while not making him completely villainous) was a great idea, akin to how Batman became necessarily darker in the late 80s. The restarted timeline was also a good idea.

I also dig Godzilla's look. Always struck me as the bridge between the later-day Showa Godzilla and his future Heisei design. Respect was also further restored to the creature and this movie is full of numerous memorable scenes (Godzilla sneaking up on the plane, the battles with the Super X, Godzilla's grand unveiling, the climax at the volcano, Godzilla dropping the helicopter that causes a chain reaction of explosions, Godzilla slaughtering the JSDF at Tokyo Bay). The monster action is pretty classic.

On the duller side of the coin, the movie feels a little thin without another monster for Godzilla to fight and the pace is a bit slow. Also it suffers "Godzilla Raids Again" syndrome in that sometimes tries to be Gojira, but it doesn't reach those heights. Any uber-seriousness the film attempts is thrown out the window once the Super X is introduced. The human characters had potential and kept me entertained for the first half four. I liked the main scientist too (though I always struggle to remember the character's name). Story kinda stops making sense when they're trapped in Tokyo with Godzilla (and I feel like the movie missed the boat by never really allowing its protagonists to get into any Godzilla related danger), but there's still some amusing bits (the free-loading hobo). Oh and the cold war stuff leaves me...err...cold, but at least there was attempt to show that Godzilla attacking Japan wasn't happening in an international vacuum.

It's probably not in my top ten, but the good vastly outweighs the bad in my opinion. I'd also credit this movie as more or less kicking off the modern kaiju era.

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Re: Talkback Thread #16: The Return of Godzilla

Postby HayesAJones » Sat Aug 21, 2010 12:46 pm

It's a dark, gritty film with a very dramatic score. For what it is- an attempt to bring Godzilla back to his darker roots- it's very enjoyable.
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Re: Talkback Thread #16: The Return of Godzilla

Postby TokyoVigilante » Sat Aug 21, 2010 1:01 pm

Let the record show, I cried after this film. I was five or six at the time. And incredibly confused as to why they dropped the monster who just sent those green Space Gorillas packing into a volcano. Continuity and tone be damned! Seeing Godzilla "die" probably solidified my love for this character, so this movie means alot to me.

Rewatching it now as a young adult, the American scenes are silly and awkward, and the inclusion of the Steve Martin character as an "Ahab"/Dr. Loomis type character is a really interesting and creative touch. Is it rediculous seeing a husky American man accampanied by Asian flute chords whenever he's on screen? Yes and it's awesome. I happen to like Burrs narration over Godzillas fall into the volcano; it adds a lovely melodramatic touch to the scene.

I love this look for Godzilla. It looks like a monstrous radiation consuming titan, ancient and primal but with none of the organic and animalistic touches later added to the heisei look, and that makes this Godzilla the most frightening for me.

I love the super-science weaponry, especially the memorable Super-X. The niniture effects look better then in most heisei films, probably due to the lighting. And the title theme for this film is glorious. It just exudes this classical feeling of dread and drama, I don't think it gets enough love.

The human element is probably the worst in the series. They're just so not bland and uninteresting; such a shame. It's the only weakness of this film, IMO but it's a especially notible weakness.
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Re: Talkback Thread #16: The Return of Godzilla

Postby Arrow » Sat Aug 21, 2010 1:12 pm

HedorahLives wrote:The main good thing is that this is a magnificient reboot of Godzilla's character. I like the cheesy 70s films too, but the franchise had hit the fan. A different direction was needed. IMO, Toho handled it the best way they could. Restoring the beast to his less cuddly roots (while not making him completely villainous) was a great idea, akin to how Batman became necessarily darker in the late 80s. The restarted timeline was also a good idea.

As far as Godzilla's character goes, I think that The Return of Godzilla plays up Godzilla's sympathetic angle too much. I consider it almost a non-entity in the original film, which is why Godzilla is so destructive and dangerous. Them trying to do that and keep the dangerous edge of Godzilla didn't really work, and the destruction scenes featuring a sleepy-looking Godzilla accidentally destroying buildings turn out to be completely bland and unconvincing. This isn't the harbringer of death in the original. This is some animal who stumbled ashore and is tough enough to shrug off military attacks.

However, I don't disagree that a turn for the more serious wasn't a bad idea. I love the '70s film as well, but we did need a bit of a change. A darker Godzilla was a good idea, even if I don't think this movie is all that dark. It tries, but the writers fail to realize that what made the original so dark in the first place where the themes it worked with and the treatment of Godzilla, which is another reason I think the sympathetic angle on Godzilla shouldn't have been done in the way it was.

A reboot wasn't a bad idea though. Time for a change.

I also dig Godzilla's look. Always struck me as the bridge between the later-day Showa Godzilla and his future Heisei design.

Eh... I'm not big on it, myself. My main gripe is with the head, which just looks silly. The Cybot-Godzilla isn't good. I prefer the Godzilla design used in the next film - Godzilla vs. Biollante - much better.

Respect was also further restored to the creature and this movie is full of numerous memorable scenes (Godzilla sneaking up on the plane, the battles with the Super X, Godzilla's grand unveiling, the climax at the volcano, Godzilla dropping the helicopter that causes a chain reaction of explosions, Godzilla slaughtering the JSDF at Tokyo Bay). The monster action is pretty classic.

Eh, aside from the Super-X, I find Godzilla's rampage to just be boring. There are a couple cool things - like Godzilla's fight with the military in the bay (your examples), but everything after that isn't done all that well. Again, Godzilla's rampage was done far better in the two films proceeding this one.

Any uber-seriousness the film attempts is thrown out the window once the Super X is introduced.

I thought it was a good idea and done fairly belivably, if not entirely realistic.

The human characters had potential and kept me entertained for the first half four. I liked the main scientist too (though I always struggle to remember the character's name).

You're thinking of Dr. Hayashida, played by Yosuke Natsuki. But I found most of the human scenes to be pretty boring. The acting is mostly ranges from mediocre-to-terrible and the characters themselves are mostly forgettable. One of the things that really made the original work were the characters, which pulls RoG down when it tries so hard to be Godzilla.

Oh and the cold war stuff leaves me...err...cold, but at least there was attempt to show that Godzilla attacking Japan wasn't happening in an international vacuum.

You mean the thing with the Russians in the American version? It's annoying, but a product of its time. Eh, what can ya do? And yes, I do agree that the a strength is that it tries to add in an international angle.

Overall, I just can't get into this one.

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Re: Talkback Thread #16: The Return of Godzilla

Postby TokyoVigilante » Sat Aug 21, 2010 1:17 pm

This film isn't really "dark". It's serious, played straight, set at night, is melodramatic, but it certainly isn't dark.

The military march for this film is just plain goofy. And laser shooting tanks and hovering atomic battleships are hardly the material for a darker toned Godzilla film.
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Re: Talkback Thread #16: The Return of Godzilla

Postby GotengoXGodzilla » Sat Aug 21, 2010 1:48 pm

The only thing I really like about The Return Of Godzilla is its score. Other than that, I wasn't impressed by anything else in the film. For a while, I would this is to be one of the better films. But looking back, there really isn't anything to this film, other than to bring back Godzilla. While I appreciate that, the film itself is quite boring. The film seems to try way to hard to have the same kind of feeling as the original Godzilla film, which is where I think it fails most at.

There are a few Godzilla films that I find to be quite boring, and this is one of them.
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Re: Talkback Thread #16: The Return of Godzilla

Postby HedorahLives » Sat Aug 21, 2010 2:08 pm

Arrow wrote:
Any uber-seriousness the film attempts is thrown out the window once the Super X is introduced.

I thought it was a good idea and done fairly belivably, if not entirely realistic.

The human characters had potential and kept me entertained for the first half four. I liked the main scientist too (though I always struggle to remember the character's name).

You're thinking of Dr. Hayashida, played by Yosuke Natsuki. But I found most of the human scenes to be pretty boring. The acting is mostly ranges from mediocre-to-terrible and the characters themselves are mostly forgettable. One of the things that really made the original work were the characters, which pulls RoG down when it tries so hard to be Godzilla.


Overall, I just can't get into this one.


That's all cool.

With the human characters, I think that the film didn't give them all that much to do. Hayashida slides nicely into the Yamane role, but the rest? Part of what made Gojira compelling was the love triangle. It added a more humane touch to the other worldly stuff. Here the characters just have physical obstacles (i.e. trapped in building, need to get the bird-call thing to Mt. Mihara before Godzilla completely annihilates Tokyo) and that makes them far less interesting. I don't think any of the actors did a particularly bad job per se (that said, I've only seen the dub, so who knows), just that they didn't get much to work with beyond the initial drama surrounding Godzilla's existence being kept a secret and the "missing" brother.

As for the Super X, I actually like the idea a lot too. Personally, I think the Super X2 blows all incarnations away (all about the synthetic diamond reflecting Godzilla's breath, a great touch) and I think how some of the Super X technology influenced the Heisei Mechagodzilla. It's just that I don't think it works in a movie trying to be like the original Gojira. Aside from Godzilla, the most sci-fi thing in that movie was the oxygen destroyer and that device made up for any dubious psuedo-science by being an absolutely terrifying concept. Super X is cool, but kinda fits more into the fantasy elements that were prominent in the 90s (telekenesis, mechas, etc...).

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Re: Talkback Thread #16: The Return of Godzilla

Postby Ethan » Sat Aug 21, 2010 2:09 pm

I used to dislike this film, but recently it has grown in me and it's now my favorite Heisei film. While I agree it's got some pacing issues and and a generally bland cast, there are still numerous positives that save it:

    The foggy atmosphere, the music and cinematography help bring the film a sense of dread that's missing in subsequent films, barring GMK. The sound effects sound much more natural than what's heard in the remainder of the Heisei series.
    Hayashida and the Prime Minister are memorable characters, with the former managing to bring Godzilla's symphathetic side without seeming like a senseless enviromentalist a la Miki Seagusa.
    The destruction scenes while brief are impressive in its scale and detail. The aforementioned scene from Prophecies of Nostradamus is used effectively. The images of a fiery Tokyo near the end of the film do a great job in mirroring Gojira.

I also really like Godzilla 1985. While it does wreak havoc on the Cold War angle, it's got better pacing and some really neat sound effects. It's also the best non-AIP dub in the franchise.
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Re: Talkback Thread #16: The Return of Godzilla

Postby JVM » Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:51 am

I really want to see this one - it's my second priority after DAM.

Unfortunately, I can't buy bootlegs or watch it online, even if it's linked, due to some rl stuff I don't want to get into.
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Re: Talkback Thread #16: The Return of Godzilla

Postby edgaguirus » Mon Aug 23, 2010 2:43 pm

RoG is a pretty good film. The music, as has been said, was excellent. It set just the right tone. The Super X was an interesting idea, but the design didn't stand up to the potential that was there. It could have been a great mech, and we end up with what looks like a flying tank. The acting is basic, but the best scenes of the film come from the boat. When the Shockirus leaps down and attacks the guy is one of the most frightening and effective scenes of the Hesei series.
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Re: Talkback Thread #16: The Return of Godzilla

Postby HeiseiGodzilla117 » Mon Aug 23, 2010 3:55 pm

I like Return of Godzilla quite a bit. It introduces the more serious Heisei Godzilla.... Heisei is my fav era so obviously I like it. Godzilla returns to his more serious nature like the original... although he's not quite as sinister. I will say I'm not a huge fan of Godzilla's head design in this one. Godzilla falling into the volcano chills me to the bone every time I see it. I'm very fond of this movie.

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Re: Talkback Thread #16: The Return of Godzilla

Postby godzilla1996 » Thu Aug 26, 2010 2:42 pm

Nice update for Godzilla (he really could have used some better effects), Godzilla himself is cool, however, the suit has it ups and downs as far as scenes you see it, and the it kinda drags on. But, the action scenes are very well done.
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Re: Talkback Thread #16: The Return of Godzilla

Postby XxComablack1937xX » Thu Aug 26, 2010 6:18 pm

I thought the Godzilla suit looked fine in most shot's minus a few here an there
Godzilla's roar resembled the 1954 roar an was much deeper the films of the 60's an 70's which fit a lot better
After seeing Godzilla battle so many monster's it was nice to see a solid Solo film an Godzilla carried it just fine.
The Score was absolutely beautiful, it really fit with the dark atmosphere of the movie
The Super-X was a nice touch, much different then Godzilla just blasting the Military
Had one of my favorite scene's where Godzilla rise's from behind the clouds of fog an his spines light up as he feeds on nuclear energy. I thought this was an epic scene
Finally the end... Trapping Godzilla in the Volcano was a great end, it made you feel for Godzilla like it was his last movie but also left it open for a possible sequel in the movie. Not to mention the final high-pitched roar in the 1985 version was a tear-jerker with addition to the music.

All in all a great return for Godzilla, i think this is a great movie. Not the best but def top 10

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Re: Talkback Thread #16: The Return of Godzilla

Postby cloverfan98 » Fri Aug 27, 2010 6:24 pm

To me this movie has a few flaws that bring it down alot, but the things they do get right, are awesome. The music is great, Godzilla looks mean and powerful, and the idea of him eating Nuclear power was a great idea. However, Godzilla never really acts very scary, alot of the plot is slow and unintresting, and the same goes for the characters. I want to give New World props for casting Raymond Burr again, but I whish they could have done more with him.

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Re: Talkback Thread #16: The Return of Godzilla

Postby gojira012 » Thu Sep 02, 2010 6:19 pm

You realize that this movie and Godzilla 2000 are the most recent ones to be released in America theatrically.

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Re: Talkback Thread #16: The Return of Godzilla

Postby Hellblaze » Fri Sep 03, 2010 1:01 am

Good movie it's ok but also the last Godzilla film with Raymond Burr in it before he died. The one I don't get is with the birds when they lured Godzilla into the volcano in other movies that never happened except in this it's strange. Well he is a dinosaur after all and those birds are his 'relatives' :D
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Re: Talkback Thread #16: The Return of Godzilla

Postby Mini-Godzilla » Fri Sep 10, 2010 8:43 am

Dusting off the old catalog reviews:

The Return of Godzilla
Back before "reboot" was a common movie term, and even before sequel retcons were really that common, Toho wiped the slate clean of the Showa sequels and gave us a nice back-to-basics direct sequel to Gojira. The Big G's 30th anniversary outing is visually impressive, and the haunting music creates a genuinely eerie mood, but the characters could have used some more development, and the ending is merely okay. Still, everyone's favorite radioactive dinosaur looks fantastic, so why complain?

Godzilla 1985
American viewers had a better reason to complain. While New World seemed generally interested in making the new film more accessible to U.S. audiences (and you have to admit that the ads were splendid), they lacked the gifted hand of Terry Morse, and the results are disappointing. Raymond Burr is amusing, but he looks more out-of-place in the Dr. Peppered Pentagon than he would in cheap Tokyo inserts. And the vilification of the Russians is downright pointless and annoying. Even so, it's not as much of a mess as the Americanized King Kong vs. Godzilla, right?
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Re: Talkback Thread #16: The Return of Godzilla

Postby godzillafan » Tue Sep 28, 2010 5:20 pm

it was a great movie, but i think godzillas first apperence was a little too obvious
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